Goals from substitutes Mario Mandzukic and Mitchell Weiser helped Bayern Munich to a 2-0 victory over Sao Paulo at the Allianz Arena, and set up an Audi Cup final with Manchester City. Mandzukic broke the deadlock when he arrived at the back post to turn in Robben’s deflected cross before Weiser tapped home after Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot had struck the post.
A dramatic finale then saw Sao Paulo win a penalty and goalkeeper Ceni Rogerio racing the length of the field to take it, only to see his effort saved by Manuel Neuer.
Bayern were dominant throughout and missed a host of chances to run out more comfortable winners. They now face Premier League runners-up Man City in the final on Thursday evening. Bayern came into the match on the back of Pep Guardiola’s first defeat, a 4-2 German Supercup loss to rivals Borussia Dortmund, but they showed no signs of a hangover as they flew out the blocks to put their opponents under immediate pressure.
After a couple of early sighters from distance, the hosts settled down and started knocking it about with Sao Paulo happy to sit deep.
Despite enjoying the majority of possession, Bayern couldn’t fashion a clear opening and were forced to pepper Rogerio’s goal from distance with Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm all going close.
But as half-time approached the hosts finally fashioned a collection of notable chances.
First Robben managed to somehow sneak in behind the opposition backline, but the Dutchman looked startled by the opportunity and could only poke his effort straight at Rogerio.
Claudio Pizarro then saw his close range effort hacked off the line after being fed by Lahm, and David Alaba failed to beat Rogerio when through on goal.
Robben’s low shot then almost crept underneath the veteran Sao Paulo keeper before his deft lob found the roof of the net after a lightning Bayern counter as the hosts finished the half strongly.
Normal service resumed after the restart with Sao Paulo continuing to invite Bayern pressure, but this time the hosts were rewarded for their attacking exploits.
Robben’s cross from the right was flicked on by an opposition head before landing perfectly at the feet of Mandzukic who tucked home from six yards out.
Both sides then struggled to find a rhythm as a flurry of substitutions interrupted the flow of the game, with both managers only too aware their sides had another match in under 24 hours.
Mandzukic almost put the game beyond doubt when he broke in behind the opposition defence but he blasted straight at Rogerio before the game came alive in the final five minutes.
Weiser showed great composure to slot home and double Bayern’s advantage after Shaqiri had seen his drive hit the post, but Sao Paulo won a late penalty to set up a potentially nervy conclusion.
Goalkeeper Rogerio raced the length of the field to take it but Neuer turned his effort onto the post to mean that the hosts progressed to the final with their clean sheet intact.
Earlier, Manchester City had sealed their place in the final with a 5-3 win over AC Milan with all the goals coming in a frantic opening 45 minutes.